Please help me pick a meat grinder

Joined Jul 4, 2016
Hello, I'm a production manager at restaurant in New York City and recently our meat grinder's motor blew out and we are looking to purchase a new one.  I have absolutely no knowledge about meat grinders and so far google has taught me that LEM and Weston seem to be the popular brands.  I had my eyes set on the Weston #32 1.5 HP grinder but it turns out it has been discontinued and I am having a hard time finding it in stock.  The LEM seems to be the next recommendation but I hesitate due to it lacking a reverse function.  Any sort of information from personal experience would be appreciated.

Some more information:

We don't go thru a ton of meat in a day, maybe one or two 15L buckets of ground meat at most.  My boss wants a heavy duty 1.5 HP  unit because of the conditions we are running it under, rather than the quantity of meat.

Basically our kitchen is extremely hot, and that is what we are attributing to our old unit's motor blowing out.  Every meat grinder I have come across measures its capacity in lbs/hour so I assume running a meat grinder for 1 hour consecutively is pretty standard, but our old unit would only run for about 20 min before it began to slow down, jam, and stop.  

Basically the most important factor for this new grinder wold be heat resistance and durability.  My boss thinks this means higher HP, which I am skeptical about but like I mentioned I have no knowledge.  

Some units I have looked out are:

The LEM and Weston #22 and #32 units.  

The Vollrath #12 and #22 units

Cabela units

I hesitated on the cabela's because their gears didn't look like they were made entirely of metal, which I thought might affect heat resistance.  The Vollrath just seemed overpriced despite offering basically the same thing as other units.  The LEMs don't have a reverse switch and the Weston is sold out everywhere.  Please, any help is appreciated.  
Joined Jul 4, 2016
Thanks for the reply! Actually worn out motor and low voltage both seem extremely likely causes. The machine was 8 years old when the motor blew out and we were having a problem last month with the grinder shutting off from not getting enough voltage.

The kitchen is actually a soup kitchen and has like 8-10 giant pots of soup boiling at all times, that is why it is so hot in there. The HVAC system is working fine (I think) it's just very difficult to get the temperature down.

I was looking at Hobart grinders and found them to be pretty expensive similar to the vollrath grinders. Excuse me for being extremely ignorant but I thought the price of the grinder was basically determined by its HP and the size of the plate. The Hobart #22 .5HP unit is priced at $3,500, in comparison to say the Weston #32 1.5HP is about $1000. Is there a reason for the vast price difference despite (what I think) to be lower specifications? Is it simply the price of quality parts?
Joined Jun 23, 2015
Hobart is a quality product.  I have a meat slicer that is at least 35 years old and still works like new.  If you are a not for profit call Hobart and ask if you can get a special deal or even a donation.  They are a good company.  Do you have hoods over your soup pots? Make up air?  A properly designed system should keep the room cool.  I would suggest a HVAC engineer to check and balance your system.
Joined Jul 4, 2016
I work in a restaurant so I would probably have to buy the meat grinder. I'm just finding a hard time shelling out 3 times the price of other models with comparable specification. Is it simply because Hobart is a trusted brand that they cost so much? Like most of the heavy duty and expensive models I can find are around $1000-$1500 yet the lowest end Hobart grinder starts at $3500. Is there some sort of reason for this? I don't doubt that they make a quality product I am just having a hard time wrapping my head around the cost. Our old grinder is currently selling for around $700 at the moment and it lasted us 8 years. Of course I can't just take that as a scientific value, but with that as a baseline, this new $3500 grinder would have to last roughly 40 years just to break even. I'm not saying that it won't last that long, you mentioned you have a 35 year old unit from them that works like new, but is it really cost effective?
Joined Oct 10, 2005
What about the "standard option"?

A.K.A. Meat grinder attachment for a 20-60 qt Hobart? The grinder will fit on most clones too. It'll handle 50# of meat daily no problem.

If you have the mixer, the attachment is pretty cheap, even cheaper if you buy it used
Joined Oct 10, 2005
Not to mention that it is the same attachment that fits on to the actual, self standing Hobart meat grinder.....
Joined Oct 31, 2012
I will also support the Hobart meat grinder attachment if you have a mixer. In fact, you should be able to find them used pretty easily.  There are other attachments for the Hobart mixer and you should buy them as well. 

I used the meat grinder attachment for 100 pounds of pork butt. Keep the meat cold and make sure the blade is sharp. 

We used the other attachments for slicing onions, potatoes, cabbage and other stuff. 

     The Hobart attachments may be the most under utilized pieces of restaurant machinery out there. They lie around in used equipment stores and no one seems to appreciate them so they typically sell for cheap. A soup/community kitchen is a great place to get the most out of them. 

     As for value, if you can buy used, all the better. But the reason you will pay more for the Hobart is because it works like the professional level equipment it is. The work is done quickly and efficiently so you can move on to the other tasks. No slowing down or sputtering or stopping. As has been noted, they are  built like a tank and outperform just about everything. The Hobart will most likely out live you but is also repairable if need be. 

     If you can't find the attachment and end up buying the meat grinder, your concern over the price should disappear within a few weeks. 
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